Map of the month – The Moon, Eclipse and Sun Rising

Moon, Shetland Isles Mainland – Map: Revised New Series 1:30,000 1911
Moon, Shetland Isles

The proportion of the sun covered by the moon in the Shetland Isles was expected to be 97% in today’s eclipse – not far off a total eclipse and was measured as the darkest place in the UK. The perfect place to have watched would have been Moon on the west coast of Shetland Mainland.

Records of solar eclipses have been kept since ancient times. Eclipse dates can be used for dating of historical records. A Syrian clay tablet records a solar eclipse which occurred on March 5, 1223 B.C. while a stone in Ireland is thought by some to record an eclipse in 3340 B.C. Chinese historical records of solar eclipses date back over 4,000 years and have been used to measure changes in the Earth’s rate of spin.

Places in the UK that reflect the main elements needed for an eclipse include the previously mentioned Moon in the Shetland Isles, Sun Rising in Warwickshire and Eclipse Street in Cardiff.

The UK will not experience a solar eclipse on this scale again until 2026 and there may be a lucky few, who are already born, who will live to see the next total eclipse in the UK in the year 2090.

To buy this map, or any Cassini map of your area, go to:  Cassini Maps

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Mapmaker PlusNow available from £14.99

Large format maps supplied folded or rolled. A total combination of 13 map scales and series. Maps available from 1805 to the present day. Choose from seven OS Historical Map Series.

Now includes six present day Ordnance survey mapping series.

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Cassini Downloadable maps
Warnborough - 1871. 1:2,500

From only £3.99 – One week only. Offer finishes on the 16th February 2015
Coverage – England, Scotland, Wales.
Ideal for research, or print and frame for a personalised decorative map centred on the location of your choice. A4 maps £3.99, A3 maps £4.99

Cassini’s downloadable maps from 1805 to the present day.

• Instant map downloads of any area.  • Including personal inscription.
• Available for all historical OS series. • Choose from eight historical map series
• Highly customisable.                          • Coverage of England, Scotland* and Wales.

Cassini is delighted to offer you our stunning range of historical Ordnance Survey maps. Whatever your interest in the past our historical maps are invaluable works of reference. Ideal for reasearch, or print and frame for a personalised decorative map centred on the location of your choice.

Simply search for the area you are interested in, buy and download the PDF. No waiting for the map to arrive in the post.

Maps available for site-centred downloads
1855-1896 County Series 1:2,500
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1805-1874 Old Series 1:30,000 – 1:50,000
1871 Registration District 1:30,000 – 1:50,000
1896-1904 Revised New 1:30,000 – 1:50,000
1919-1926 Popular Edition 1:30,000 – 1:50,000
1945-1948 New Popular 1:30,000 – 1:50,000
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*Scottish maps are only available for Old Series 1805-1874, Revised New Series 1896-1904 and Presentr Day OS mapping.

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Cassini’s historical printed maps are digitally enhanced reproductions of the original Ordnance Survey maps of the same names – but with a very important difference. We have combined, re-projected and enlarged them to match the scale and coverage of the present-day Ordnance Survey Landrangers®, so making direct comparison between the past and the present easy and accurate.

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Maps are chosen from one of the three Cassini Historical map series:

Old Series MapOld Series Edition
Created from Ordnance Survey Old Series Edition maps first published between 1805 and 1874 These maps were the result of the first ever national survey of England & Wales. From the late 1790s until 1874, a small army of surveyors covered every corner of the what was still an almost entirely rural country. Their work provided a stunning portrait of the landscape, with every farm, track, copse and hamlet recorded. Many of these features would have been unchanged for centuries, reminders of ancient patterns of settlement dating back to Saxon times.

Revised New SeriesRevised New Series (Colour)
By the late 1890s, the Ordnance Survey had produced two complete series of maps of England & Wales but the increasingly rapid pace of change and development meant that revising them was now a never-ending task. The main cause of this change was the growth of the railways. From being little more than a good idea in 1830, the network covered over 18,000 miles by the end of the century, enabling the spread of goods, people and ideas and changing the character of every place it touched.

Popular Edition
Popular Edition MapThe original Ordnance Survey Popular Edition series was conceived before, but published just after, the First World War. This was the first of Ordnance Survey’s series to be conceived from the outset as a mass-market product, and the first to be produced in full colour. The new technology was put to the test in catering for a wholly new market.
If the railways were the transport revolution of the 19th century, the motor car was certainly that of the 20th.

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Some areas have limited stock availability. If the Map of your selected area is not available you will be advised of this on the Website at the time of making your application in which case you may then choose a Map of a different area.

The map of your chosen area will be from one of the three available series.
Unfortunately it is not possible to choose which series your map is from.
The Map is available for delivery in the UK only. £2.99 P&P charges will apply.

How Heath Row became Heathrow

How Heath Row became Heathrow

This brief overview looks at the history of Heathrow and the area on which it was built with the aid of four historical Ordnance Survey maps. In each case the present-day airport (pale pink) and the proposed expansion (pink) have been superimposed.

In May 2010, the new coalition government announced that the most recent plans for the expansion of Heathrow Airport, which both parties had opposed when in opposition, would be cancelled.

These bald facts conceal the story of how Heathrow was conceived by deception, born into uncertain times and yet grew into what is now the busiest international airport in the world. With the aid of a series of maps of the area, this article explores this unlikely

heathrowOSE

Extract taken from Cassini Old Series  176 – West London (1805 – 1822)

This map was created from Britain’s first national mapping project, Ordnance Survey’s One-Inch (‘Old Series’) maps which were first published between 1805 and 1874. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

The land Heathrow occupies today is in the southern part of the London Borough of Hillingdon although historically it covers two of the ancient Middlesex parishes of Harlington and Harmondsworth. Domestic settlement in the area probably dates back to 500BC and a Roman camp existed on the site now occupied by the airport. The proximity to the major east-west route of the Bath Road (now the A4) doubtless influenced the development of all the villages and hamlets in the parish. Heath Row, as it was then known, was first mentioned by name in documents from around 1410.

The parish mainly comprised flat fields that were irrigated, and at times flooded, by several waterways that drained into the River Colne. Two of these, the Duke of Northumberland’s River and the Longford River, were artificial. The former was constructed in the 1530s to provide additional power for Isleworth Mill, the latter in the 1630s to improve the water supply to Hampton Court. The subsequent development, if so it can be called, of the parish was little more than the gradual increase of cultivated land centred on a few small hamlets.

The Ordnance Survey maps pick up the story in the early 19th century. As a study of other maps from this period will show (and those of the whole country are available from http://www.cassinimaps.com) the British landscape in the early and mid 19th century was typified by small farms and small villages, interspersed with woods and open countryside and linked by a network of ancient roads and tracks. The area around Heath Row was no exception.

In the late 19th century, orchards and market gardens began to replace arable land and some new buildings were constructed, but in general the character of the area altered very little. This was about to change.

heathrowRNC

Extract taken from Cassini Revised New Series 176 – West London (1897-1909)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Revised New Series (in colour) maps which were first published between 1896 and 1909. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series. 

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Revised New Series (in colour) maps which were first published between 1896 and 1909. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series

Heathrow’s aviation history goes back to the First World War when the site was used as a military airfield, although little evidence remained by the time of the Popular Edition map of 1920. In this year the airport was closed for various logistical reasons including bad communication, the bumpy nature of the ground, its tendency to become boggy and muddy in winter and its frequent covering of mist. As the map showing the current expanse of the airport shows, these problems have since been overcome.

In the late 1920s the Colnbrook by-pass was opened which led increased industrial development in the area. One result was the re-opening of the airfield, as the Great Western Aerodrome, by Fairey Aviation as a centre for aircraft assembly and testing.

It had become clear by the 1930s that civil aviation would increase (though few would have predicted by how much), and the government began to make provision for the capital’s air services. The plan was to expand the two existing aerodromes at Croydon and at Heston, to the east of modern-day Heathrow, and to add two new ones, at Fairlop in Essex and Lullingstone in Kent. Heathrow’s flat terrain, proximity to London, good communications and comparative lack of housing must already have made this an attractive candidate for expansion, despite its other disadvantages. Work was under way on all these projects when war was declared in September 1939.

heathrowPOP

Extract taken from Cassini Popular Edition  176 – West London (1920)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Popular Edition maps which were first published between 1919 and 1926. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

It can be seen from the three preceding maps that the area of Heath Row experienced various, largely undramatic, changes during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although most of the settlements expanded only slowly, the character of the area was starting to reflect the growth of nearby London: the increased cultivation, the railways, the growth of East Bedfont (and the creation of its school), the emergence of Southville and the construction of the Staines Reservoir all show the area’s increased importance as a supplier of goods, services and labour to the vast metropolis that was expanding towards it at an alarming rate.

In late 1942, there was increasing demand from the Air Ministry for a base for the new long-range heavy troop-carrying planes, existing facilities in the south of England being inadequate. After some debate, this slightly boggy area of market-garden farms was chosen as the site of a wholly new airfield. Construction work began in May 1944 on land originally acquired from the vicar of Harmondsworth. Although the location was ideal, the terrain was not. 100 million gallons of water had to be pumped out of the ponds and 14 miles of pipes were needed to drain rainwater into a nearby gravel pit. Another task was the clearance and demolition of the hamlet of Heath Row. Few other places have become so posthumously famous.

At the time, the Air Ministry’s case must have seemed unanswerable, but doubts exist as to whether there was ever any intention to use Heathrow for military purposes. The fortunes of war were shifting in the Allies’ favour, so making large-scale troop movements by air less likely; whilst the argument for a large new civil aerodrome was clear to those who were considering how post-war Britain might be shaped. Due largely to wartime innovations, aircraft were now far bigger. Commercial air travel before the war was still a novelty – when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain left nearby Heston Aerodrome for the first of his ill-fated meetings with Hitler in 1938 it was the first time he had been in a plane, which excited little comment at the time – but demand seemed likely to increase substantially in the future. The 1930s plan of four small airports around the capital was now inadequate. Instead, the contemporary logic ran, one larger hub was needed which could be purpose-built for the new aircraft and would be capable of future expansion as the need arose.

The main problem was that any civil project on this scale would have led to protracted planning enquiries and divisive financial wrangles within Whitehall. Using wartime powers to requisition the land offered a more certain outcome. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary Harold Balfour later admitted that he had misled the cabinet on this point in order to expedite the process. Were military use the only requirement, many existing RAF bases could have been converted with far less time and effort. Whatever the real motives, Heathrow was allowed to slip into being almost unnoticed, in marked contrast to the glare of publicity which attended many of its later developments. Heathrow would not have been the first project by a national government promoted under the guise of military exigency, and is unlikely to be the last.

In the event this potential conflict of interests and purpose never materialised, for construction was still not complete by the end of the war. The military origins of the project were quietly forgotten and work continued on building what was now unambiguously a civilian airport. This was officially opened in May 1946 with a flight to Buenos Aires via Lisbon, the departing passengers enjoying terminal facilities that consisted of little more than a large tent. At the time, Heathrow’s managers stated, with rare prescience, that it would eventually become the largest airport in the world.
heathrowPlaneThe next few years did little to justify this optimism. Numerous problems were encountered with the construction of terminal buildings and the second runway, not helped by post-war restrictions in obtaining suitable materials. As late as mid-1948, Northolt (which Heathrow was intended to supersede) was actually handling more travellers. Yet all these problems were eventually overcome. In 1953, Heathrow handled a million passengers (about the number of people that used it every five days in 2010), and this had increased to 20 million by 1973. Now it is the world’s busiest international airport with over 61 million international travellers in 2010 (roughly the population of the UK) and is the daily workplace of over 76,000 people (roughly the population of Basingstoke). It is the largest single-site employer in the country. Other statistics are more bizarre, though perhaps in their own way no less revealing. 10% of the UK’s perfume sales are made at the airport; a bottle of whisky is sold there every seven seconds; the annual turnover of Heathrow’s shops (about half a billion pounds) is more than the entire GDP of American Samoa.

In January 2009 the then Labour Government gave the go-ahead for a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow. The announcement followed several years of lobbying and planning by interested parties which had begun even before Terminal 5 had been completed. The result would have been to increase the annual number of flights from 480,000 to 700,000 and would have required the demolition of 700 homes in the borough of Hillingdon, including all of the ancient village of Sipson and parts of Harmondsworth and Harlington. The decision was not met with unanimous public approval.

The debate about expansion rumbled on until the 2010 general election, involving almost every major organisation in British public life. The advocates of the third runway and the sixth terminal – which included the Labour government, the BAA, British Airways, the CBI, the TUC and the British Chamber of Commerce – argued that expansion was essential and that the economic benefits to the UK’s economy would be in the region of £7 billion a year. The opponents – which included the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Mayor of London and his predecessor, Hillingdon Council, environmental campaign groups, residents’ associations, aid agencies, the National Trust, the RSPB and the local Labour MP – questioned whether the financial benefits (if realised) would outweigh the negative factors of disruption, pollution and noise.

In the event, the new coalition government acted swiftly. Within days of the election it announced that the plans for the expansion were to be shelved. The problem was solved – for now.

The history of Heathrow does not, however, suggest that the airport will stay out of the limelight for long. Opinions differ as to whether southeast England needs more airport capacity and, if so, where it should be situated. Future expansion plans cannot be ruled out. Heathrow seems set to be at the heart of the debates about the future of transport, development, environmental issues and government policy for many years to come. Expect more enquiries, more protests and more statistics: further blazes of publicity, in short, in contrast to the furtive way in which the airport came into being sixty-odd years ago.

heathrowNPO

Extract taken from Cassini New Popular Edition  (1945)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s New Popular Edition maps which were first published between 1945 and 1946. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

Start discovering the landscape of the past for yourself. Every corner of England, Scotland & Wales is covered with a range of old maps dating from the late 1600’s to the Present day. Visit Cassini Maps

Ordnance Survey Revised New Series (Colour)

Surveyed 1842-1893 (New Series); revised 1893-1898 (Revised New Series)
Coloured Edition published 1897-1904
(available from http://www.cassinimaps.co.uk/shop/printed.asp)

In February 1804, some ten months before the publication of the first Old Series sheet, the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick, in order to win a bet, built and successfully operated the first steam locomotive to run on rails. He was unable to capitalise on this achievement and it was left to others, notably George Stephenson, to refine and develop this new technology over the next 20 years. The result was a railway-building boom that was to transform the country.

RNC

Less than 100 miles of track existed in 1830; this had grown to 1,500 miles by 1840, and to 10,400 miles by 1860. The effect on the areas through which the railways passed was often dramatic, particularly around large junctions and termini: an estimated 4,000 houses, for example, were demolished during the building of St Pancras station in London. This revolution helped drive Britain’s increasing prosperity and industrialisation during the rest of the century, and contributed to numerous social changes including the growth of trade unionism, the advent of tourism and the standardisation of national time.

The railways also enabled goods and people to be quickly transported to and from large towns and cities, so hastening the existing trend towards urbanisation. In 1800, around 75% of the population had lived in the countryside and the rest in the towns; by 1880, these proportions had been reversed. As a result, many long-familiar aspects of the landscape were changing for good – and changing far more quickly than they could be mapped. Within a few decades of the first appearance of the one-inch Old Series, it had become clear that the process of surveying, revising and re-publishing maps of Britain was to be a never-ending task, the more so as the maps were increasingly being put to a wide range of civilian, as well as military, uses.

The government and the Ordnance Survey took several measures to address this issue. From the 1840s surveys were carried out at increasingly detailed scales and were used for many purposes including railway construction, geological survey and sanitary reform. In order to ensure complete and accurate coverage, the 1841 Survey Act had already given surveyors the right to ‘enter into and upon any land’ in the course of their duties. Having moved into new premises in Southampton after a fire in 1841 had destroyed their overcrowded Tower of London headquarters, the Ordnance Survey, armed with its new powers and instructions, began work on re-surveying the country. The results, published at the one-inch scale between 1876 and 1896, were later to be known as the New Series. These used the same Cassini projection and origin of Delamere as the earlier Old Series maps. Indeed, the first New Series sheets were little more than reprints of the northernmost Old Series sheets but with a new numbering system.

In 1893 a more thorough revision was undertaken which resulted in the publication of 346 sheets, between 1895 and 1899, of what became known as the Revised New Series (later sheets were merely the same with hachured hills added). Improvements in reproduction and printing techniques helped these to be even clearer and more accurate than their predecessors. By this time, however, another change was being demanded; for from the early 1890s, the military was pressing for a one-inch map in colour. Financial, technical, aesthetic and political considerations as to how this could best be accomplished were hotly debated between the numerous interested parties. In late 1896, the Ordnance Survey concluded that sales of the new maps to civilians would help subsidise the costs, a consideration which helped drive forward production of the first colour one-inch map the following year. Even then, the debate continued, and some features, such as the use of green for woodland (which only appeared on sheets 1 to 73, north of the Preston to Hull line), were amended as the series progressed. Although the final results were something of a compromise between the often incompatible aims of the military, the Treasury and the Ordnance Survey, the Revised New Series in colour stands as an elegant portrait of late-Victorian Britain. As the first coloured one-inch map series, it was also the precursor of Ordnance Survey’s 20th-century mapping which, from the Popular Edition onwards, would be increasingly determined by the demands not of the military but rather of the civilian market. The Revised New Series captures Britain at the height of its imperial prosperity. All but the very largest cities still had clearly defined boundaries, but with little of the urban sprawl that has since overtaken so much of the landscape. The construction of over 16,000 miles of railway track (of which about half survives today) had made its mark on the physical landscape, both by its very presence and through  the social mobility that it helped encourage. Alongside and, increasingly, beneath these new developments, the maps still clearly show many of Britain’s more ancient features and settlements: but these are now dominated by the new Victorian urban society which in many ways forms the basis of our own.